Skip to main content

Robo-bus fleet aims to carry 10,000 passengers per week

A fleet of full-size autonomous buses will soon be carrying passengers in what’s said to be a “world first” for the technology.

The new service, which will start in Scotland next month, is notable for its use of large buses on regular roads, marking it out from similar services that mostly use much smaller autonomous vehicles in enclosed areas such as colleges, recreation areas, and industrial parks.

An autonomous Stagecoach bus.

Operated by public transit firm Stagecoach, a fleet of five buses will transport around 10,000 passengers per week along a 15-mile route at speeds of up to 50 mph, the BBC reported.

The vehicles are fitted with a suite of sensors and cameras to ensure they travel safely along the specially planned route, which begins in Edinburgh and heads north across Scotland’s famous Forth Bridge.

The self-driving buses will have to deal with a range of infrastructure, including pedestrianized bus and train stations, single-lane roads, a 50-mph highway, stoplights, and traffic circles.

A safety driver will ride in the front though will only touch the controls in the event of an incident, and a second person will assist passengers with boarding, purchasing tickets, and any queries.

The project, named CAVForth, is the work of a large number of companies and organizations, including Edinburgh Napier University, Bristol Robotics Lab, and Bristol-based Fusion Processing, which helped to develop the bus’s autonomous system.

Carla Stockton-Jones, Stagecoach managing director, said: “We’re excited to introduce the U.K.’s first autonomous bus fleet in East Scotland,” adding that the service “marks a significant milestone for public transport.”

The U.K. government said the service, which begins on May 15, will be the world’s first full-size, self-driving public bus service to go into operation.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Uber reportedly just spent $10 billion on 100,000 Mercedes
Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabrio Edition 130

Your Uber just got a whole lot fancier. According to recent reports, the transportation giant just dropped $10 billion on a fleet of at least 100,000 Mercedes S-Class sedans, because not only does Uber strive to be the cheaper, more convenient alternative to taxis, but it must also be classier as well.

The alleged move comes as both Uber and the German luxury auto brand make moves to advance autonomous car technology, and experts suggest that the San Francisco firm's decision may have something to do with the car company's self-driving capabilities. That said, Mercedes' autonomous functionality is far from perfect -- its E-Class cars are only able to maneuver themselves for short periods of time, and it's not a standard feature.

Read more
EV vs. PHEV vs. hybrid: What’s the difference?
BMW X5 PHEV charge port

When sizing up options for your next car, you may be figuring out whether to get an electric vehicle, only to discover there are a bunch of variations to consider -- not just hybrids, but plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles are just some of the other categories. The depths of EV jargon run so deep that we wrote an entire EV glossary, but for now let's zero in on the difference between electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. These options blend old tech and new tech in a way that's often practical, cheaper than an EV, and still more efficient than an old-school gasoline car.
What is an electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle skips the internal combustion engine found in most traditional cars in favor of an electric motor. This allows EVs to operate without needing gasoline. Instead, they're powered by an electric battery that will need to be charged regularly, either at your home or at a charging station like a Tesla Supercharger. The Ford Mach-E, Kia EV6, and Rivian R1S are all popular examples of modern EVs.

The electric motor works by way of a rotating magnetic field. Inside the motor, three electromagnets surround a free-floating rotor, which spins based on which magnet is attracting it most. That rotor in turn produces power to the wheels of the car and pushes it forward and backward. Regenerative braking reverses the relationship and turns motion into electricity. While you're slowing to a stop, the force of the turning wheels spins the rotor and generates a charge via the electromagnets in the motor, which in turn goes up into the battery for storage. If you're curious, you can dig into the nuts and bolts of how an electric vehicle works.
What's the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?
In short, a hybrid primarily relies on gas with an electric backup, while a plug-in hybrid relies on electric power with a gas backup.

Read more
You’ll soon be able to watch YouTube videos in your Android Automotive car
Android Auto in a car.

Google is making a bigger play for the in-car infotainment system. At Google I/O 2023, the company took the wraps off of a series of improvements to both Android Auto and Android Automotive, allowing those who want Google-based services in their car to get more features and better account integration.

As a reminder, the two systems may have a similar (almost identical?) name, but are actually quite different. Android Auto essentially just projects content from your phone, whether through a wireless or wired connection. It's Google's answer to Apple's CarPlay, and doesn't work without your phone. Android Automotive, however, is a version of Android that runs in the car itself, as the car's main infotainment system. It works whether you have a connected phone or not. Collectively, Google refers to the systems as Android for Cars -- yes, yet another name.

Read more